Why this Mama Runs Marathons

It’s not just for toddler naps but it doesn’t hurt.

In January of 2018, I decided to take control of my health and had weight loss surgery. I had struggled with my weight my entire life and I didn’t love the example I was setting for my children. In preparation for surgery, I lost over 30 lbs and have since dropped 100 lbs from my heaviest weight (right after I had my twins). Determined to not waist the blessing, I started running about 8 weeks after surgery. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to run a mile without the additional weight on me. I don’t think I realized how bad I felt until I felt so good.

My dad ran a marathon while I was in high school and since then, it has always been on my bucket list. Why not now? I started researching “flattest marathons in the country.” Because I like to run but I’m not totally crazy at this point. Turns out, one of them was the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. Upon doing more research, I discovered that this marathon is HUGE. They have a lottery system to get in and only take 30,000 runners. I talked to Andrew (not sure he realized all the child raising he was signing up for at the time) and he agreed that it was worth throwing my name in the hat if it would keep me motivated. I signed up that night. At this point I was only running 3 miles at a time. I thought, gosh, if I get in I need to be a stronger runner and I took a screen shot of a marathon plan for beginners on Pinterest (super scientific approach) and started running more. Turned out all that training was perfect because I got in! In October of 2018, just 9 months after having weight loss surgery, I crossed the finish line in D.C. and completed 26.2 miles to the cheers of my amazing marathon finishing father.

I will do it again in Columbus, OH this October to the same cheers of my dad and joined by my 3 big kids, mom and husband and right next to one of my very best friends. I am so excited for this one, because there is something super cool about your children getting to see you work really hard and accomplish something huge. Makes you more life a person for a moment and not just a mom and hopefully inspires them that they can work hard and do hard things too.

In the beginning I ran because I was afraid of gaining the weight back. That is still a motivation but more than that, it has become a part of my mental health. Today, my littlest and I were just getting on each others nerves. It was not all him. I was annoying too. After lunch, I tucked him into the stroller and took off for 5 miles in the heat of the day because I needed a break and so did he. We both feel better for different reasons. About a mile in, he fell asleep and I cranked up the music on my phone (hello early 2000s hip hop music) and just sweated out all the stress of the day. At this point, I run because it makes me a better mom, and a better person. Running may not be it for you, but find something that resets you, contributes to your health and breathes a little bit of gratitude into your spirit. Now if only I could smoothly transition this sleeping stud from stroller to bed. Maybe in my next mom life.

10 Crazy Things This Mom Says Daily

1.  Stop fighting over imaginary toys!

2. Don’t stand there and dance, just go to the bathroom.

3.  I don’t have any napkins, just lick your fingers.

4. That was not a snuggle, you just wiped your face off on my shirt!

5.  That’s nice but you aren’t at grandma’s house right now so NO!

6. Go back in there, wipe your bottom and wash your hands…..and turn off the light!

7. What do you have in your mouth?

8. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

9. You better eat all your pizza (or insert any other unhealthy kid food here) or you don’t get any ice cream.

10. Did you need that drink 10 minutes ago when I was in the kitchen, or do you just need it now that I’m trying to use the bathroom by myself?

The struggle is real.  What crazy things do you say?

We are NOT our Problems

My sweet 3 year old is struggling with seasonal allergies.  Gross Alert:  Everytime he sneezes he shoots snot down to his chin and little tears roll down his cheeks, not because he is crying about these impressive snot rockets but because they are just so watery.  Poor guy.  This morning we were all snuggling in bed and everyone was coughing and sneezing and sniffling and Christopher sighs, “Mommy, we are allergies….all of us are allergies.”

And although he is correct, we are so much more than that aren’t we?  We are sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, mommas and daddies.  We are hopefully, at least on a good day, helpers, encouragers, hardworkers but goodness, some days I just feel like my issues.  Some days I feel like an allergy.  When my kids have days like this, I try to remind them of their blessings.  I know it’s so sad that I can’t get that cup of water this instant because, heaven forbid, I am going to the bathroom, but look at this nice house we have with the clean water that comes out of our faucets.  Life is not so bad kid.  This never works on them and most times it doesn’t work for me either.  I usually can’t intellectually talk my way out of a self pity spiral but when I try I think about this.

It’s not who you are, but whose you are that counts. -Joel Osteen

There will be days when the snot hits the window in the car when you sneeze (seriously) and the tears roll down your cheeks, but even on your worst day, you are loved by a Big God who loves you just like you are His kid.  You are not an allergy you are a son or daughter of the King.  Mind Blown…..not to be confused with Nose Blown.

 

When my Children Pretend to be Me

shoes

My little humans have wild imaginations.  They pretend to be doctors, pirates, princesses, performers and chefs but the person they love to be more than anyone is me.  I know what you’re thinking, oh isn’t that sweet?  Well you would be right some of the time but the other times it’s just humbling.  When they are kissing each others’ boo boos or using their sweet mommy voice when asking for something I love it.  When they pretend to tuck each other in and they give hugs, kisses and rub noses my heart sings.

It’s the times when they bark orders at each other that I’m less than proud of myself.  Or when they clap their hands and tell each other in a serious mommy voice to hurry it up buttercup.  I’m never super excited to see them shake their fingers at each other.  Could I have more finesse when getting my kids out the door?  For sure, however some parts of this parenting thing are just not pretty.  Watching yourself played back through the eyes of your children is gratifying at times but also remarkably humbling.

It’s a lot of pressure being a parent.  We are constant teachers, modelers of good behavior, politeness and compassion but sometimes we have an off day and fall short of our own expectations of ourselves.  I’m betting my mom had days like these but I don’t remember them.  I remember the fun stuff she did with us as little ones.  I remember her having a snack ready for me when I got home from school and greeting me at the door.  I remember her sitting through hours of practices and tournaments.  I remember her letting us make forts in the living room.  I remember sitting down together as a family to have dinner more often than not.

Our children give us grace without even thinking about it, not unlike our Heavenly Father.  Now we just have to accept it for ourselves.  When we fall short, Jesus makes up the difference.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Bedtime: When Everyone Cries and Nobody Wins

Bedtime is absolute craziness at our house.  The preparation required for 3 kids to get to bed is intense.  There are baths to take, teeth to brush, diapers to change, jammies to put on and books to read.  After everyone has been washed, brushed, clothes and tucked into bed without fail one loses their mind.

It starts the same way everytime. 

“One more hug Mommy.”

“Me too Mommy.”

“Now I want to give you a kiss.”

Now I’m going to kick my covers off as you watch me and then ask you to cover me up again. 

Now I’m going to drop my sippy cup amd pretend that I don’t have use of my limbs to pick it up myself.

Now I’m dissatisfied with my book selection. 

Now I remembered I left my other blankie downstairs, you know, the one I have never slept with before.

Repeat.  Times 3 Crazies.

This master manipulation added to my exhaustion is an explosive combination.  It usually ends with me giving in to the first 10 demands and then losing my mind after number 11.  Then there is crying, mine and theirs and then we hug 3 more times and go to sleep. 

I think I would be more assertive if they were only requesting items but it’s just so hard to say no to a hug.  I know one day the tables will turn and I’ll be begging for hugs from them.  Tonight I hugged 3 times each, tucked twice and told them I loved them and they were on their own.  25 minutes of absolute mayhem and they are quietish.

There has to be a balance right?  I want them to be reassured that they are safe and loved before they go to sleep but I also don’t want to teach them that they can manipulate me with their fit throwing.  As I sit in my now quietish house I can’t help but think they will bring this up to their therapist one day.

“Why do you think you feel that way Christopher?”

“Probably because Mom amd Dad didn’t hug us enough before we went bed.”

Ugh!  This parenting stuff is intense.  What’s bedtime like at your house?

Scary Rainbows

Today, as I sit on my back deck while my children play outside, I overhear them telling “scary stories.”  They are sitting in a circle in hula hoops taking turns telling the same story over and over again while the other two gasp in “terror.” 

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It goes a little something like this:

Then there was a big storm, and another big storm and they were in a tent and they couldn’t get out and then when they did, they saw a rainbow.

After I got over the shock of them voluntarily taking turns, I thought, wow we have read way too much Noah’s Ark.  My lasting thought however, was pure bliss that the scariest thing they can reference is a thunderstorm.  Sweet innocence.  So thankful that we have been able to protect them from the truly scary stuff so far.  They know nothing of true hunger, abandonment, abuse or even great sadness.  We haven’t even lost a pet during their short years.  They know Sesame Street, trips to the park, afternoon snacks and bedtime stories.  They cry tears of exhaustion after a long day at the spray park and tears of frustration over learning new skills.  Happy tears for toddlers.

As they grow into this world our challenge will be to find ways to include them in service to those who haven’t been so lucky.

James 1:27 (NIV)

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

So a Ballerina, a Fire Fighter and a Bicycle Walk into a Bar…

Recently, while asking my children what they wanted to be when they grew up I got the following responses.  Abigail twirled and then replied, “A ballerina!”  Christopher put his hands on his hips and shouted, “A firefighter!” and Benjamin raised a finger to his mouth in deep thought and said “Hmmmm, a bicycle.”

When do we stop believing we can do or be anything?

I love that nothing limits them at this point.  That same freedom makes them complete hazards to themselves but it also makes them absolutely beautiful.  Their responses to common questions are the purest example.  What do you want for your birthday?  A paddy cake.  What do you say when you ask for something (hoping to hear please)?  I want something!  What would you like for dinner?  Ice cream and Nutrigrain Bars.  No worries about judgement or consequences.  No concern for societal convention.

We tell our children two very different things as they grow up.  When they are little we tell them, “You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it” and then when they are getting ready to go to college we tell them, “That’s sweet that you want to be a Philosophy major but how exactly do you expect to pay your rent.”

We can’t live this pure unadulterated freedom as adults but what if we all dreamed a little more and worried a little less?  Like so many other things in life, I think it’s probably a balance…..but for what it’s worth I think he would make the best bicycyle ever.